BELLEVILLE, Ill. (KSDK) - He died while wearing his badge, on the job. But a longtime Sheriff's Deputy is not receiving the recognition his department says he deserves.
Deputy Lamont Reid worked at the St. Clair Sheriff's Department for more than 20 years. His motto was, "We start together, and we leave together." Now, those words are his legacy.
"Lamont was the centerpiece. He was who everybody went to for answers," Deputy Kiwan Guyton said.
He was a mentor to his fellow deputies, and someone everyone loved.
"Even the criminals had respect for Lamont. He was just that type of guy," Sheriff Rick Watson said.
So, his loss left a huge hole in the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department. He died four years ago this week, at the age of 55.
"We had no signs, no warnings," said Reid's wife, Diana.
Deputy Reid suffered a heart attack while working security for the department at the East St. Louis Metro Link station.
"He was at work, he was in uniform, he did die in line of duty," Diana said.
That is why his name is going up on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. But, his name has not been added to the Illinois State Memorial.
"When you wear that badge, it's an honor. When you die in that uniform and that badge, it should be an honor," Diana said.
So, his family and his department have been fighting for the honor.
"I'm very disappointed it hasn't been taken care of, but that doesn't mean I won't continue to fight," Sheriff Watson said.
The sheriff says he and the family have granted the committee's requests for paperwork, and changes to paperwork, but continue to be denied.
We spoke with David Johnson, the president of the Illinois Police Officer Memorial Committee. He calls the job of deciding who to add to the memorial a 'tough' one. But, he says, the committee must stick by its bylaws in order to maintain the integrity of the memorial.
Regarding Deputy Reid's case, Johnson says the committee continues to consider his addition. He says the committee's by-laws are very specific about heart attacks, and include cases that happen during rigorous physical activity or directly following that activity. Johnson says the committee is still waiting on one document it requested and hopes to revisit the issue in June.